Fitness predictions and trends for 2020

Hi friends! How’s the morning going? I’m catching a Peloton workout and then recording some workout tutorial videos to share on IG. For this morning’s post, I thought I’d chat a little bit about fitness trends and predictions for 2020. It’s always fun to take a look into my fitness crystal ball and take some guesses at the formats and workout styles that will surge in popularity (and those that are stagnant…or have died) in the coming year.

Fitness trends and predictions for 2020

Fitness predictions and trends for 2020:

What types of workouts will be the most popular in 2020?

– Mobility workouts and focus on recovery. I feel like there’s been a huge upswing in mobility and recovery-based classes, like stretching and foam rolling. I LOVE this because group fitness participants are aware that recovery, stretching, and mobility can possibly prevent injury and keep you in the game even longer. Plus, they feel good! I’m glad that the emphasis is less on “hustle until you cry” and more on sustainable fitness routines.

– HIIT. HIIT continues to dominate fitness classes and workouts because it’s insanely effective and fun. This makes me happy because I obviously love HIIT (so much I wrote a book about it) and adding in HIIT can provide numerous benefits like improved heart health, metabolism, speed, and fitness performance.

– Meditation classes. Meditation classes are popping up at more and more studios and there’s been an increase in meditation apps. My very favorite is the Calm app! If you’re looking to add in meditation this year, I highly recommend it. It can make your brain younger and is a great way to find peace and center during a busy day. 

– Express classes. I’m so happy that more gyms and studios are offering shorter workout classes since people have realized you don’t need to work out for an hour. (An hour is so long!!! I can’t believe it used to be my standard duration back in the day.) 30-45 minutes are the perfect amount of time to get in a sweaty balanced workout. 

– Emphasis on home workout options, including streaming options and virtual training. For convenience, home workout options continue to become more and more prevalent and the equipment just gets fancier with companies like Mirror, Peloton, and Tonal. I think that there will be an increase in virtual training with a personal trainer and more streaming options from beloved studios this year. (If some awesome NYC dance cardio classes could get on it, I would be so pumped.)

Peloton 2

– Vintage-style aerobics and step classes. I feel a little bit of a step and aerobics resurgence, especially with classes like High Fitness, BODYATTACK and step aerobics classes at chain gyms and studios. I’m excited about this because I could mambo cha-cha and L-step all the livelong day.

– Rowing. Rowing is a surprisingly tough workout and unlike the treadmill, you use your entire body. You’ll use your legs, core, and upper body, while getting in a serious cardio workout. More studios are popping up, like CITYROW and Row House, and I heard a rumor that Peloton will release a rower. 

– Tech-free environments. So many workouts and studios have become technology-based with giant screens, leaderboards, and heart rate monitors, and I think that we’ll start to see a trend towards technology-free environments. We’re already inundated with constant emails and social media noise that a workout can be an opportunity to fully unplug and disconnect from the online world. I think we’ll see more tech-free studios without the gadgets and flashing lights. 

Still growing or remains the same:

– Yoga and Pilates. I feel like these will never die because they’re low-impact and safe options that have been around for a very long time. They’re more of a lifestyle than a class you take once or twice, and devotees find a way to keep them in their workout rotation. 

– Les Mills workouts. Les Mills continues to get more innovative, especially through adding in their On Demand platform and new formats. They’re always adapting their formats to keep things fresh, and the workouts are scientifically designed. (If you want to try it out, my link will get you 21 days for FREE!)

– Kickboxing. I feel like since the Billy Blanks days kickboxing will never fully die. Even though it’s changed over time, from music-driven and choreographed routines to more legit boxing skills, there’s enough variety to change with the type of workout participants are craving.

– Cycling. Cycling is such a functional workout that I don’t ever see it going away. (Even though many studios do things on the bike that aren’t the least bit functional, but there ya go…) I love seeing the more back-to-basics style classes, like the ones Peloton offers. 

– Bootcamp workouts. I think bootcamp workouts will always stick around because of the community environment. So many times when I talk to a friend who LOVES a studio, it’s because of the people more than the workout. I think Orangetheory, Barry’s, and Burn Bootcamp will continue to do well this year. 

Already saw its peak:

– Barre. I don’t think barre is dying any time soon, which is a good thing because it’s one of my faves, but I think its growth has stagnated. While studios have offered new tools and equipment to class, I’ve found that classic barre workouts tend to be the most popular. 

– CrossFit. I think the devotees will always be there, but I think it’s seen its peak. 

– Strictly cardio-based fitness routines. So many people are becoming aware of the benefits of strength training that they’re starting to add strength into their workout plans. More gyms and studios are starting to add more pure strength and group strength training options to their schedules.

So, tell me, friends: what fitness trends do you think we’ll see in 2020? Did you try any new workouts last year that became a fave?



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  1. LIz on January 7, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Stretching classes! I’ve been seeing them pop up in DC. We also have a meditation and nap studio here (yup, nap studio) for people to be able to rest and recharge for 30 minutes. I finally got into hot yoga this year, and it has changed everything. The studio I’ve been going to is hot power yoga, so more athletic and less meditation based than a standard yoga class, and with the 95 degree temps, I work up a sweat and my joints and muscles open up way faster. I’ve also seen an increase in barbell classes, which I LOVE. While 305fitness (my favorite dance cardio studio, and there is one in NYC) doesn’t have a specific streaming service, they do post a lot of videos you can do at home on youtube, I definitely recommend checking it out. There’s a 33 minute one featuring tiesto that is especially good.

  2. Jamie on January 7, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    I went to a therapeutic yoga class last week and it.was.everything. Instead of traditional poses, we used props to work on imbalances and myofascial release. It was glorious and something I am going to work into my regular routine, especially as my year amps up and I start training for the Chicago Marathon this fall (eeeek).

    • Janice O'Kane on January 7, 2020 at 7:39 pm

      That class sounds heavenly!! Good luck with your marathon training!

  3. E on January 7, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    One thing that seems to be happening in Phoenix is cycling studios closing. One studio owner insinuated Peloton is the root cause in the drop in studio riders, though it would of course be a multifactorial problem. The two closest independent cycling studios to me have closed in the last 4 months 🙁 I live the concept of Peloton but have no place to put one at this point in my life.

  4. Katie on January 8, 2020 at 9:43 am

    I don’t know that Les Mills is going to pick up any new followers, but Pump/Combat are still my favorite classes to take! Also, I’m with you on step. I would brush off my reverse turn straddles and crab walks if it would come back!!

  5. Stephanie on January 8, 2020 at 10:13 am

    I think stretching and foam rolling classes will start to make their mark. Mobility and assisting recovery–and learning to prioritize that–is important (like you discussed in your rationale for mobility training).

    And I think you’re right for Crossfit–not going anywhere, but it won’t grow like it exploded a few years ago. I think because bootcamp classes have popped up in enormous quantities and BECAUSE so much more HIIT classes are coming to mainstream big-box gyms, people who loved the short bursts of intensity in the metcon/wod component of crossfit classes are still able to get that. I do however think that powerlifting gyms will start coming more and more. I know crossfitters who love the metcon class have options with OTF and Burn Bootcamp and even LES MILLS GRIT and LES MILLS SPRINT classes in mainstream gyms, but then there are the crossfitters who really love the heavy lifts. A few years ago I saw very few powerlifting gyms, and lately I have been seeing more and more of them.

    I think that cycle studios will continue to have their moment for a while, but I think that there will be more and more independent studios out there (I have already started to see this around Atlanta). Franchise fees are EXPENSIVE, and I think that alums from the cycling studio chain world are starting to realize that they can take what they have learned from the support to learn and grow the business through franchise businesses OR through very social-media-driven high-profile,expensive-membership gyms like exhale and lifetime fitness and modify the business and marketing principles to what’s happening in their communities. Case in point: a local gym that popped up 1.5 years ago seemingly out of nowhere in my part of ATL. The owner built her business investing in top-line Stages bikes and in focusing heavily on social media and developing her own branding, and the instructor who is sort of the ‘team leader’ for the spin instructors is an alum from teaching at some of the most ‘elite’ gyms (essentially the ones where monthly membership is like $175/mo…) and built the team of spin (& strength & mobility…) instructors around the same atmosphere of exclusivity.

    I have also started to see some more ‘targeted’ boutique studios pop up around, instead of just cycling/just bootcamp/etc. For instance, the new-ish chain SPENGA has made a splash in my area by offering class concepts that focus on part spin class, part strength training, and part yoga. These kinds of boutique fitness studios seem to understand that even in affluent areas, memberships are expensive and many people don’t have the money to participate in multiple individual, specialized studios.

    I am interested (as an RPM and as a Body Flow instructor) to see what happens with Les Mills going forward. I love that as an extension of OnDemand, Les Mills has developed Les Mills Virtual that gyms can pay for to offer gym patrons more “class” environments in the off-times for class scheduling. Some gyms have used Virtual to offer something as close to the group fitness experience as possible in off-peak times, and I have seen others offer Les Mills Virtual as a chance to test out programs they don’t pay the license for.

    I’m excited to see what happens with virtual at-home group fitness experiences and programs like Class Pass, to see if there will be development in the same idea for the at-home fitness folks–sort of like a portal you can pay one membership for and have access to, say, one barre3 workout per week and two yoga workouts a week, and access one peloton class, etc. and pay one monthly fee for this access–restricted amount of access for each format, but offering diverse accessibility across multiple formats for one monthly fee.

    Don’t know if fitness accessibility, business models, and marketing & branding have evolved THAT much yet, but I can see it on the horizon.

    Also I will say that I think, given all the words I have just shared, that mainstream big-box gyms are going to be on the uptick over the next couple of years. In part because franchise fees are so expensive AND in part because membership fees are so expensive. One of the gyms where I teach is half a mile away from a Cyclebar and is also close to a UFC boxing gym. In the last 6-8 months many of the gym’s newer members are people who realized that they can still access some boxing-like classes through BODYCOMBAT and some spin classes through RPM and SPRINT multiple times per week for less money.

  6. Kelly on January 13, 2020 at 8:16 am

    I think you are wrong about CrossFit! Don’t knock it until you try it! CrossFit offers so much more than a workout, it’s the community! I’ve done boot camp classes, gym classes and hands down, CrossFit is the best. You become great friends with the people in your class and you get an amazing work out as well. I resisted CF for so long, but there is nothing else I will do from here on out.

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